About Crypte Archeologique – Paris
The Crypte Archeologique (Archaeological Crypt) in Notre Dame Square (Parvis) in Paris is an incredible site for those interested in the history of Paris.
Crypte Archeologique history
During the Gallo-Roman Period, Paris was known as Lutetia, which developed from the 1st and 2nd centuries BC.
The Crypte Archeologique contains the remains of Gallo-Roman Lutetia, including its 3rd century BC walls, its streets and heating systems and even the ruins of a cathedral.
From the middle of the 3rd century right up until the 5th century AD, Lutetia which was threatened by the first Germanic invasions, was a strategic site for the defence of the Roman Empire against the barbarians. The Île de la Cité was fortified in 308 AD, becoming the active centre of the city and the settlement on the left bankwas partially abandoned.
The Middle Ages saw the rise of development focused around the cathedral, whose construction began in 1163. This included the creation of a new street, the rue Neuve Notre-Dame, in line with the central great door of the cathedral, the reconstruction of theHôtel-Dieu hospital to the south of the cathedral square and the construction of buildings and churches.
In the 18th century, many medieval buildings were destroyed to ease traffic and improve sanitation in the Île de la Cité. The squarewas extended, the rue Neuve Notre-Dame was widened and the Hospice des Enfants-Trouvés foundling hospital was built.
In the 19th century, the city prefect, Haussmann, carried out a radical programme of urban restructuring, destroying many old buildings and lanes. Barracks (which are now the police headquarters) were erected at the back of the square, in addition to the current Hôtel Dieu on the side of the square. The current layout of the square is the result of these major changes.
Crypte Archeologique today
A little known site, the Crypte Archeologique is often not as crowded as the streets above it. Visitors can discover the foundations and vestiges of buildings which were constructed between the Gallo-Roman era and the 18th century. Slide shows, models, and guided tours for adults and children complete the visit. Visits to Crypte Archeologique usually last 1 hour.
Getting to Crypte Archeologique
The address of the site is 1 Place du Parvis Notre-Dame 75004 Paris. The site can be found just outside the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris and so it is suggested you reach the site via the cathedral.
Located in the City Island on the Seine river, you can easily get to the site by walking from the Marais neighbourhood. Nevertheless, if you would rather take the metro, travel via metro line 4 and get out at the Saint Michel metro station or Cité metro station.
If you get out at Saint Michel metro station, go to the Seine river and turn to your right. You will instantly see the Notre Dame from afar and can find the Crypte Archeologique a few minutes walk away. The walk from this station is very pleasant. If you get down at Cité metro station, you will be closer to the site and will only have to walk a few streets to reach the cathedral and find the site from there.
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